Dress UpOh so Pretty

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Tis’ the season for holiday parties, rocking around the Christmas tree, and great hair! There’s nothing I love quite like getting all dressed up at Christmas time – let’s be real, it’s the only bit of the year where adults cover themselves in sparkles and sequins and it’s considered totally normal. Stories are stocked up with all the glitter, and let’s just say I always feel like it’s my time to shine.

I usually struggle with dry brittle hair in the winter, but this year I have the blessing of pregnancy hormones on my side, making my hair much more full and luscious than usual. For the first time in a long time I’m taking my hair health seriously, sleeping with a silk head wrap (LOVE Silke London) and being wary of using too much heat. I’ve also been letting my natural colour grow in, which means with less bleach I’ve needed to get used to washing my hair way more, so choosing a good shampoo and conditioner combo has never been higher on my priority list! This holiday season that means the new OGX x Nicole Guerriero Limited-Edition Holiday Collection.

I am scent-obsessed, so this super cute Disco-themed festive collection is absolutely speaking my language. Created in collaboration with beauty influencer Nicole Guerriero, the three shampoo and conditioner pairing scents are Ice Berry Queen with sugared cranberries, jasmine and amber, Midnight Kisses with warm vanilla, orange blossom and sugar cane, and my personal favourite, Mistletoe Wishes. With notes of red holly berries, light fresh evergreens, and a touch of sparkling grenadine, your hair really can’t get more Christmassy than this!

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Available for $10.99 each at most major retailers and drugstores like Shoppers Drug Mart, this collection is only here until Christmas, so make sure you get them on your list to Santa!

Dear DiaryDress Up

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Clothing waste has always been a big concern for me with a career in blogging. It can be hard not to get caught up in always wearing brand new items all the time, and I often struggle with looking fresh without over-consuming. Then I got pregnant, and things took on a whole new level of wasteful.

Instead of staying the same size and wearing my clothing until it was too worn out to wear anymore, suddenly nothing in my closet would even fit over my hips, and when I tried to buy some cheap, fast fashion items in bigger sizes, I grew out of them within a couple weeks. At a time when your body is constantly changing, how can you possibly keep up without needing a whole new wardrobe every week? And don’t even get me started on kid’s clothing with how quick they grow and change!

The new UN Climate Change Report that was released this past month was a huge wakeup call to me – without taking immediate action to treat the environment with more respect, our future is in danger, and as far as I can see every little bit in every area of our lives helps. I’ve been cutting back on using plastic straws and consuming cow-based animal products, but what about the very clothes I put on my back? Becoming pregnant and realizing a lot of the items I’ve barely worn in my closet may never fit me again made me realize I can do better.

Did you know North Americans send more than 12 million tons of textiles into the waste stream every year? Canadians on average buy 70 new articles of clothing annually (I think personally I might be closer to 80+), and I don’t even want to think about the hike in that number when pregnancy and growing kids are involved. So what’s the answer? As Autumn rolled around and I started to need more cozy pregnancy items in larger sizes, I decided to take stock of alternatives to buying new. Here’s what I came up with:

1 // Thrift it! I knew I wanted some looser dresses for blogger events this Fall, so instead of shopping online like I usually might I walked to my local Value Village and I was honestly shocked at how much I found. I ended up with three different options for under $50, and dropped off a bag of pieces that no longer fit me too. You can see my three finds in these photos!

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Did you know that one thrifted t-shirt can save up to 2,650 litres of water, and a secondhand pair of jeans saves up to 6,800 litres of water? Plus, bringing in donations is an amazing way to give back to the system without creating more trash.

Fun Fact: On October 16th, aka Waste Reduction Week’s Textiles Tuesday, Value Village set up an installation made of reused textiles in Toronto’s famous Graffiti Alley to bring awareness to just how much clothing waste humans produce. Needless to say, it was a LOT!

2 // Take good care of the items you love by washing them carefully. I use the cold cycle, hang to dry, and only buy all-natural detergent to help out with my environmental impact too!

3 // If you have to buy new, don’t spend on novelty pieces you’ll only wear once, instead save your pennies and invest in beautiful pieces made locally that are built to last a lifetime. Bonus points for organic/natural fabrics.

4 // Organize a clothing swap with your friends! Make a night of it with tea and cookies for good measure. It’s a great way to update your wardrobe without spending any cash, and any leftovers can be taken to your local thrift shop to be loved by others.

5 // Take damaged or too-loose items to be repaired or altered at your local tailor. I’ve struck up quite the friendship with mine and he always does a seriously amazing job making my older pieces look like new.

Which of my Value Village finds do you like best?

Dear DiaryDress Up

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As if by magic, I’m somehow already over halfway to meeting this baby! I remember when I first got my positive test result and mapped out the trimesters, 20 weeks seemed like a lifetime away, and every moment was spent just wishing my belly would grow enough to show. I remember standing in the mirror trying to puff myself up and constantly worrying I somehow wasn’t actually pregnant.

Yet here I am, heading into week 22 (!) and In a lot of ways it still doesn’t feel any more real – even after that 20 week anatomy scan showing each tiny arm, and even as my belly grows far too big to fit into any of my old outfits. I expected to feel so sick and in a constant state of discomfort during my pregnancy, just like in the movies, but I’ve been so incredibly lucky this past 5 months with how healthy, energetic and happy I’ve felt that I seriously have consistently worried I’m not actually pregnant almost the whole time. I guess pregnancy anxiety in my case is very very real, even if the more typical symptoms haven’t been! Oh and the boobs, I definitely have the boobs as evidence.

SO what happens now? Waiting on that first “for sure” kick has seriously been agony for me. It finally happened late last week (I think? How do you know for sure!?) and I’m still impatient for a more serious kick so I can REALLY FOR SURE know this is all really happening. What can I say, this motherhood thing has been so surreal! I’m genuinely starting to worry I won’t fully believe there’s an actual baby in there until I’m actually in labour/giving birth. Some of my mom friends have even said years down the line, looking at their toddlers, they still don’t believe it!

And of course this process hasn’t been entirely without any lows. Some of my friends who started out supportive when all this was just an idea have since faded or even disappeared completely. I fell down the stairs early on and probably cried harder about the fact that no one was there to pick me up than I did about the actual fall. I’ve had 3 UTI’S (I get them chronically) and this last one has gone on for a month, totally resistant to the few antibiotics I can take. Some nights I fall asleep happily cuddling my pregnancy pillow, and some nights I fall asleep worried sick about my finances and wishing I had a partner to rant to. I may have had an “easy” pregnancy so far, but nothing worth doing is ever just easy, and of course there are times when I’m scared and worried and just want a hug. So I’ve made the choice to stay as positive as I possibly can and focus on all the good in my story, because at the end of the day this is everything I’ve ever wanted, and though nothing is ever perfect, this magical time is pretty darn close in my books!

Some fun new features that have come out since my initial announcement:

My interview with the Unapparenthood podcast here
This interview on the FASHION magazine site here

And now over to you guys! Here are my answers to all the things you wanted to know.

Q+A //

Did you consider other paths to parenthood when making your decision? Such as adopting or fostering? If you did… did you find any barriers in those processes being single? // It was definitely something I thought about, but yes, there are a lot of things about my lifestyle that would make that route pretty difficult. It’s absolutely a lot harder to qualify as a young, single woman who rents her apartment and has two dogs and a cat, with a fairly nondescript job title/business to boot. In all honesty I also really deeply have always wanted to be pregnant myself if it was a possibility, though adopting in the future when I have a partner and the process isn’t so daunting is absolutely still on the table.

I’m dying for nursery sneak peeks! // They’re coming! All setup is on hold until the ceiling mural I have commissioned Johanna for is finished. Once that’s complete and the light fixture goes up, everything else will start to take shape.

Are you finding out the gender? + Have you found out gender yet? // This is by far my most asked question I get, pretty much on the daily, and it’s a bit of a point of contention for me if I’m being real. I have always felt there was way too much focus on gender for expecting parents, and knew I personally wouldn’t want to find out long before I started trying. It’s not just about being excited for the surprise, which I totally absolutely am, but also my understanding of how fluid gender can be and how detrimental gendered parental expectations can be in turn. Let me explain:

I have dated all over the gender spectrum, and I’ve seen so many wonderful people that I care about deeply suffer from the impacts of not turning out the way their parents anticipated based on determination of sex at birth. I understand knowing what you’re having can make the whole baby thing feel more real in so many ways, and a big part of me craves that, but I think in a lot of cases it also kickstarts how you think your child will be and how society starts to perceive your child will be, before they even take their first outside breath, all based on a body part. I dated someone for years whose mother was absolutely heartbroken her child hadn’t turned out to be the straight, feminine woman she had expected to raise, so wrapped up in the fact that her kid wasn’t settling down with a nice man in a white wedding dress that she couldn’t celebrate all the incredible things this person was doing in the world. I remember hearing this story – whenever she did laundry she’d throw out her child’s American Apparel unisex underwear and replace them with frilly bikini cuts. I also had a trans* partner whose parents felt such a massive sense of loss when their child came out to them, constantly struggling with the idea of losing their daughter instead of grasping how truly remarkable, happy, and brave their son was.

These relationships were painful to watch as an outsider, and I swore I’d never make my kid feel like they had to dress, look or behave a certain way to be worthy of my love and support, especially when it comes to gender expectations. Of course I will find out the gender of my baby when they’re born, and I will be using gendered pronouns like he/she until my child is old enough to tell me to do otherwise, but I don’t want to get overly attached to my kid being a certain way because of something that in the end isn’t necessarily solidified or all that important. At the end of the day, I just want a baby to love, and I hope more than anything they’re happy and healthy.

As for decor and wardrobe choices well… let’s just say my love of pink does not subscribe to “boy or girl” norms! #allpinkeverything

What has surprised you the most about pregnancy? // Probably how surreal the whole thing has felt. As I mentioned I haven’t really been that sick, sore, or exhausted, which means some days I wake up and before I reach down and feel my belly I have a wave of fear it was all just a dream. I also like being pregnant so much that it’s almost like I can’t image the baby really arriving, like I might just stay pregnant forever? I think I expected to be one of those talking to my belly women but I’m still not fully grasping there’s someone in there to listen.

Are you dating while pregnant? I worry that after I conceive I’ll be alone forever! // Absolutely! I have a whole article on this coming out on the FLARE site very soon so I won’t go into too much detail… but don’t be afraid! NO ONE stays alone forever, and people with kids get together and join their families all the time. Yes, being pregnant and having a baby cuts out a lot of potential partners who aren’t ready for that yet, but if this is something you want, you didn’t want someone who isn’t ready anyway! I think of it as a really great auto-filtration system for my dating life.

Will you be getting a nanny? (no judgement!) // I’m not totally sure yet, but it’s likely I’ll need some help when it comes to running my own business and being a mom. Of course we all hope to have that sleepy newborn who can sit lazily in a bouncy chair for hours while mom gets work done, but I’m going with the “expect the worst and hope for the best” strategy. My family will be staying with me to help for as long as possible and when they head back to Vancouver I’ll have to evaluate what kind of childcare setup I need, if any! Certainly not against the idea, especially if it’s someone who comes to help out while I’m home working so I’m still around for all the milestones.

How long was the process before getting pregnant? // It was pretty quick for me, definitely quicker than I originally expected! I had this totally unfounded fear that I might be infertile because I’d never had any sort of a pregnancy scare, plus my family doesn’t have the best track record with female health issues (hello endometriosis). In the end I tried for three months at home without any clinical intervention or tracking, just over the counter ovulation strips and cycle tracking, and it worked. I guess it was about 10 months from the time I first decided to stop taking birth control until I actually got that plus sign on a test.

How do you maintain a positive body image while pregnant? // This one is tough to answer because in my case it feels really natural to celebrate this new body. It may not be what I’m used to, but I like to think of it as a super body, like my old one but with way more crazy impressive powers. I mean, on top of my daily life this bod is now growing a whole new human! I think staying as active as possible, having fun with how I dress (it’s not everyday you get to layer over a big old bump and huge boobs) and eating healthy have all kept my confidence up, because I haven’t completely lost my old self in this new skin. Doing the things that always made you feel like a confident babe are just as, if not more, important with a baby on board!

I want to know more about your decision to do this alone, I’ve been considering it for a long time // I’m not sure what more there is to say! It didn’t really even feel like a choice to me – I knew for so long this is what I really wanted out of life, and I ran out of reasons not to go for it! Having a baby is always scary, but for me the idea of waiting for the right person and potentially missing my chance was way scarier than going for it on my own.

I was wondering how you selected a donor and what was important to you? // I struggled super long and hard with this one because it’s a huge responsibility, and I genuinely date all sorts of people (I can legitimately fall in love with anyone), which means gravitating toward my “type” wasn’t an option. In the end I tried to choose someone a lot like me, so hopefully I will have as much in common with my kid as possible. Yes I could have gone for an academic or sports star, but without that second person around to identify with and nurture those traits I was worried I would fall short, so I went the more creative route to be safe. Who knows what I’ll actually get, but it was my attempt to be responsible!

What are you most nervous about as you become a mom? // Probably the concern of developing really bad PPD. I’ve struggled with mental health issues my whole life and the idea of feeling detached or down when I meet this baby sort of terrifies me. My mom also had a particularly bad case, which ups my risk of having it too. Luckily I live in a city with a ton of really great resources and lots of help for new moms so even if it does come up, I’m confident I’ll be able to get it under control!

What song puts you in a good mood no matter what? // Not pregnancy related haha, but I can always count on Kokomo by The Beach Boys!

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Outfit credits:
Shein Overalls (search ID 393457, get EXTRA 15% off with code “randomac15”
Mother’s are Magic t-shirt – Bee and Mae
Earrings – Shop Machete
Checkered high tops – Vans
The Motherhood Club pin – Bee and Mae
Don’t Make me Blush pin – Shop Ban.do
Empowered Women Empower Women Button – Paper Heart Calligraphy

Dress Up

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I’ve had a fascination with Blair Waldorf and her legendary style long before she came to life on the TV screen. I was all about the books as a pre-teen, soaking up every designer-laced word, and though the TV show version came out a bit too late for my obsession I still re-watch for style inspiration! You seriously can’t go wrong with pastel berets and little bows right?

When I saw this baby blue dress at the Ted Baker SS18 preview months ago I my mind automatically sprung to Blair. I knew she’d approve of the jewelled statement collar, delicately glittering patterned fabric and skater style cut. It was a little bit NYC Upper East Side, and a little bit whimsical Cinderella – these are a few of my favourite things! The best news? This fairytale prep dress is now on sale here! You can also find my black suede mules with gold details on super sale at Hudsons Bay here if you’re one of the lucky sizes left!

Scroll down to shop items inspired by the look

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Dress Up

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Holy moly it’s been a hot Summer! Most of my outfit choices as of late have involved being as naked as possible without literally looking like a naked person. Though I can’t say I’ve totally mastered the balance (there have definitely been some nudish days) my secret weapon has definitely been wrap dresses.

Wrap dresses are seriously the perfect summer staple: they come in all shapes, sizes, and cuts, feel loose and airy on your body while still showing off your shape and they’re easy to loosen on the go if the heat is turning you into a sweaty marshmallow puff (it happens to the best of us!) I have lots of different versions of wraps in my closet, but I love this Needle and Thread Rainbow Rose Wrap Dress from Hudson’s Bay for a number of reasons. First off, how beautiful is the fabric? There are so many magical rainbow flowers and delicate ribbons of colour woven into the pattern. Plus… it’s pink, and in my world that’s an easy sell! Add some ruffles and a a bit of lace trim and I’m totally in! Bonus? It’s now on super sale too!

Paired with dressy high heels and a clutch this piece is perfect for a wedding or evening affair, but I prefer to wear it in the daytime with a simple bucket bag and mules or even sneakers. Insider tip – it also came with a really cute slip dress layer that’s detachable and can be worn on its own too!

What’s your hot summer weather staple?

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